If We Were All Honest


So I’ve mentioned this before—Americans aren’t the most forthcoming people. But that’s a stereotype, right? That’s not every single American out there. It’s not some golden rule that we have to follow. But for some reason, most of us simply do.

I don’t like this and I propose a ban. Or rather, a promotion of honesty. What would the world be like if everyone just told the truth? About how they were feeling, what they were doing, thinking…it’s a crazy concept, I’m aware. But I can’t help but wonder lately.

A friend recently told me that when he starts hanging out with a girl, and recognizes genuine, general interest, he lays everything on the table. He halts and throws out an open, but out of the blue question: “Do you like me?” He said that he likes to know “how to frame a person” in his mind. No games, no pretending, just up front yes or no and move on from there.

This kind of struck me, and I wondered if he’d ever ask me the same thing. After all, we’d been hanging out a lot…I’d shown genuine, general interest. But he never did. And then I started to magically want to be the honest one—I somehow became the one dying to ask that question. But I never did.

And why not? Because people aren’t honest. We don’t like others to know that we care about them, we’re too scared that they won’t give a shit about us and break our hearts. And many times, this is the case—they won’t feel the same way. But at least you’d know, right? You wouldn’t have that eternal hope that sticks to your ribs like oatmeal and constantly soothes you with a, “I’m sure deep down, they do care about you…” Unhealthy bullshit that we all write off as normal behavior.

Why is it normal to keep secrets? Ok, fine, keep some dark, heavy crap locked away, sure. No one wants or needs to know about your alcoholic mother or your lesbian phase. But when it comes to something as simple as your feelings for someone else—well that’s the problem right there, that word, simple. We’ve molded this should-be-simple act into something insane and complex when it really shouldn’t be.

So I’ve decided. I’m going to start this “promotion of honesty,” I’m going to kick it off. I mean, I kind of have to, since I’m the one trying to make this a new trend, right? Step 1: Tell this guy how I feel. I mean, I already know the worst that could happen—rejection. Been there, done that. We’ll still be friends, he’s a great guy. It’ll sting for a day or two and then it’ll all just be a memory. And the best part is, if he doesn’t feel the same, I’ll at least know how exactly he feels—which I never would have known otherwise. I would’ve been hoping and dreaming for a  year, assuming and inferring and analyzing his every word, thought, and feeling. Lame. So this is a win-win really.

Fast forward to one week after I wrote that previous paragraph: I still haven’t done it.

So maybe I should go back to, “If it’s meant to happen, it’ll happen” kind of thing. Why force honesty on people? If he felt the same, he probably would’ve been honest about it already. Maybe he is being honest by not saying anything. Maybe honesty is overrated.

I think I’ve officially decided that I either a) like the American way of games and secrets or b) I’ve been too conditioned to escape it. No matter how much I complain about it and say that I wish people were different, the truth is, I’m just as guilty as everyone else.  I’d rather keep it inside until it fades away. Tragic, or necessary, preventative measure also known as being a powerful, independent American?

Let’s be honest, it’s both.

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